Public Engagement in Planning for Climate Change

We conducted public workshops in the town of Revelstoke to evaluate if and how rich information about urban form and climate change, employing UD Co-Spaces, would influence collaboration and decision-making about smart growth retrofits.

Measured visualizations as catalysts for mobilization: Public engagement in municipal planning for climate change was a two-year (2011 – 2012) social mobilization research project funded by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. This work developed and tested new methods of 3D modeling and visualization to deepen community engagement and understanding of the qualitative and quantitative relationships between urban planning options and carbon emissions. The project asked, “would public understanding and acceptance of smart growth improve if citizens were provided with timely, accessible visualizations about why and how it can help achieve energy reductions?”

A research team, in partnership with the City of Revelstoke, engaged community residents around testing smart growth retrofits for Revelstoke, a town of 8000 in the Columbia Mountains of British Columbia. Groups of approximately four people used UD Co-Spaces to collaboratively create design scenarios. Participants responded favorably to the medium, the visualizations, and to the collaborative workspace. Their design solutions improved the smart growth and energy related performance of the study areas in the first workshop, but additional energy knowledge and metrics provided in a second workshop had mixed results.

This project provided content for a secondary project Climate and Community.

Project Profile

Sponsor: Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions
Research team: Ronald Kellett, Cynthia Girling, Maged Senbel, Mark Stevens, Michael van der Laan, Erica Lay, Phil Riley, Warren Scheske, Steph Mauer, Mesa Sheriff, Jessica Stuart, Thea Sellman, Kevin Zhang
City of Revelstoke team: John Guenter and Chris Selvig